After bypoll win, Mamata’s Trinamool Congress readies to take on BJP in 2019 LS polls
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed party members to hold dialogue with only top Congress leaders. Other parties to be considered by the CM are Samajwadi Party, RJD and DMK.
The Trinamool Congress will portray itself as the most suitable force to lead against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in a strategy finalised by party chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, a senior leader said on Monday.
“Almost all anti-BJP forces have acknowledged the administrative skills of Mamata Banerjee as well as her focus in waging relentless struggle to protect people’s interest,” Trinamool’s secretary general and state education minister Partha Chatterjee said.
“Other regional forces would like to have an understanding with Trinamool against the BJP or NDA. Accordingly, the party will decide its strategy,” Chatterjee added.
A senior Lok Sabha legislator of the party said the chief minister has instructed them to hold a dialogue only with the top central leaders of Congress and not with any state-level leader.
The other parties with which the Trinamool will initiate dialogue include the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Lok Sabha MP said.
“Even talks with Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) cannot be ruled out. However, nothing has been decided about Shiv Sena that has recently exited from the NDA or Telegu Desam Party (TDP) that has also expressed dissatisfaction over certain policies of the NDA government,” the member of Parliament, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic, said.
“The final decision about these two parties will be taken by the chief minister.”
Trinamool leaders say after the Congress only TMC will have the distinct possibility to win more than 35 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which will easily make it the second largest party in a possible grand alliance against the NDA.
Banerjee said while speaking on the floor of the West Bengal assembly on February 2 that though Congress opposes her party in the state, in New Delhi the All India Congress Committee’s high command is well aware that Trinamool is indispensable.
She has kept up a high-pitched criticism of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre on a number of issues from cow politics to demonetisation and goods and services tax to minorities since she won the assembly polls in 2016.
The ruling Trinamool also retained the Uluberia Lok Sabha seat and snatched the Noapara assembly constituency from the Congress, winning both the West Bengal by-elections by huge margins in the recently held elections.
The bypolls came a few months ahead of local polls in rural areas, which are being seen as a precursor to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP’s president Amit Shah is keen to bag at least half of the 44 seats that Bengal offers.
West Bengal is one of the few states where the BJP has been trying to make inroads.
The BJP could win just two out of 42 Lok Sabha seats it contested in West Bengal in 2014, but polled about 87 lakh votes with a vote share of 17%. Its performance dipped in the 2016 assembly election and the BJP could win just three out of 294 assembly seats with a vote tally of about 56 lakh and a vote share of 10.3%.